Excellence through actualisation

The overarching objective of Ernst & Young’s HR strategy is to help it win the war for talent: it’s all about making sure that the company attracts the very best talent, then retains it and helps these individuals reach their full potential.

“This,” says Seshni Samuel, Africa people leader, “is what makes it possible for us to achieve organisational shift, from good to great.”

She explains that the strategy is enabled through a stringent focus on training and development, while inclusivity is also a buzzword. “This is about creating an environment that’s fair and transparent, so that everyone — no matter what their cultural background — feels comfortable and able to achieve their very best.”

Ernst & Young prides itself on being a learning organisation, where every interaction contains an opportunity for employees to hone a new skill. “We also equip staffers to learn how to identify those opportunities, and to make the most of them,” Samuel says.

The organisation provides essential support in this regard, by making its global resources available to all employees through a comprehensive global knowledge database.

“We have 130 000 staff members around the world. The reality is that, whatever the challenge, someone in this pool is bound to have the answer. So we need to connect all these people and provide access to resources beyond South Africa’s borders.”

Mentorship and coaching are also crucial tools in helping employees realise their talents. According to Samuel, by helping individuals realise their potential, the organisation can reach its own potential.

“We have an extremely strong client and market focus; indeed, we believe this is one of our defining characteristics,” she states. “We need to maintain that, and the way to do this is by making our employees’ knowledge available to our clients. Ultimately, that’s the goal we’re reaching towards.”

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as a sponsored feature

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